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What Chinese Fountain Pens Should I Buy?

chinese pens

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32 replies to this topic

#21 Honeybadgers

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 10:43

absolutely NONE of the pens on that list.

 

Here's the best pens china has to offer (in no specific order)

 

1.) everything penBBS.

2.) Delike Alpha in brass

3.) Wing sung 698 piston filler

4.) Wing sung 601 vacumatic

5.) wing sung 626

6.) wing sung 698 with a 14k nib.

 

I cannot recommend the Jinhao 992 yet. Chris has had great luck, I've had abysmal luck, and we each own over 10 apiece purchased over a couple years. His have been solid, I've bought from different sellers and every one has cracked.

 

The cheapest pen you can get away with on that list is the 601, the 698, and the alpha.

 

the alpha is super, super cheap (less than 10% of the brass kaweco sport but actually better due to the 1cm longer barrel) but made of solid brass and built like ten brick sh*houses stuck together with glue made from more ground up brick sh*thouses. I recommend the bent nib. I've been using that sucker for months and months.

 

Best "normal" pen for high school notes is the 601. vacumatic, massive ink supply, slip cap, great build quality.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 10 October 2018 - 10:50.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


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#22 Brianm_14

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 11:01

Resist the impulse to buy freely.

May I suggest that you instead try buying a Chinese Pen or two from His Nibs, who can be found by Googling that name. Feel free to correspond and discuss your needs and inexperience with Norman. He is honest and caring, and will do a good job of suggesting good pens to try. The list at the start is a great place to start with him.

Norman carefully examines all pens he sells, especially the nibs, under magnification. He says about 90% need adjustment! Futhermore, if you find the pen is not to your satisfaction when it arrives, he can usually suggest some simple things you can try to adjust the pen. If that fails, he'll take it back in exchange or make a refund. But won't come to that. His QC is too high!.

Buying Chinese pens, such as those listed at the start of this thread, on Amazon, I found maybe 4 to 6 out of 10 worked okay to some degree. The remainders were bombs. Some lots were much worse. I wpquickly learned to trust Norman and His Nibs.

Now I use those earlier pens for practice learning to tune pens. In some cases, I have to discard the nibs. These, I replaced with German nibs I purchased from places like Anderson or Goulet pens. Not cheap, but taught me about what a first class nib can do for a pen! (In a few instances the entire pen is too poorly made to be wiorth working on.). I wish I had bought fewer in my initial excitement, fewer overall, and better pens. I should have savd for much better pens, too.

Good luck, and contact His Nibs. Please let him know I recommended him! Read the reviews on his webpage.

Brian
Brian

#23 JollyCynic

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Posted 10 October 2018 - 11:33

Seriously, I love Safaris; they are kind to my arthritic hands, and I must write to make part of my living as I slowly teach less and less in my set-wise retirement from being a college professor. If you want to sell your Safari(s), at a reasonable price, PM me. They'd find a very welconpme home here.
Thanks !

Brian

 

After what JaAmEater posted, I went back and had a look at the 599, and realised the review I'd read months ago must have been talking about a hooded or stub nibbed version, and it does indeed take the same no.5 nib that the 992 takes.  So I've found one that appears online to match my 2016 Dark Lilac.  If it's a close enough match when it gets here, I will indeed be getting rid of my Dark Lilac Safari, but will be shipping it to my sister in the States.

 

Hopefully the OP has found a good few points to keep in mind when finding a solution within their budget.



#24 Lamyliz

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 17:07

I've just received a jinhao for in the post today and gave to say I'm seriously impressed (especially as I only paid less than £4 including shipping). It doesn't say which one but it has cherry blossom and a fine nib. Quite a heavyish pen, and writes smoothly

#25 SenZen

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 19:31

I'd like to thank the OP and everyone on this thread, it has been a very interesting and entertaining read and quite an education; and this coming from someone who would easily be called a snob by his friends ( -_-  who, me?), at least when it comes to fountain pens (even if I won't spend more than say $160 on a pen: one doesn't merely throw money at what one likes).

 

  • First reaction (not constructive): Chinese pens! Ha! Probably radioactive materials and exploited workers!
  • Second reaction: Ah ha! So each model is a copy of something else!
  • Third reaction: Some of these don't look half bad, I hope one day these manufacturers realize the value of reliability and decide to produce their own !!! designs instead of pinching others.

 

Aesthetically the "Wing Sung 601 Vacuum Pump" pen looks intriguing, in spite of the fact that I don't like hooded nibs. If the cap wasn't in another material I'd be inclined to give them a try. I'm not sure it's so much originality as the fact that it's a hodge-podge of sooo many other pens. I vaguely remember a Farscape episode in which the characters are mixed with each other, this would have been their pen.

 

The "wing sung 698 14k" price is a bit... Courageous? $50 USD for a Chinese pen... Harrumph, going back to snob mode (I am laughing at myself in case it's not patently obvious). Or maybe we can convince them to make a Lamy Studio shaped and sized pen with a plastic Vacumatic pattern with a piston :rolleyes: ... And kidnap a German or two for reliability?

 

Checking out "hisnibs.com", very useful recommendation Brian!


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#26 langere

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 03:15

I agree with Honeybadgers that PenBBS are good pens, pretty reliable and very nice colors.

 

I am also becoming intrigued by Moonman, which has somewhat pricier pens than the average Hero, Jinhao, etc.  Just got some in the mail and will try them out.

 

I find the nibs are not very expressive, but in general they PenBBS at least are good writers.

 

Erick


Currently in Rotation: 

Moonman 600 "F" nib running Waterman South Sea Blue

Pelikan M205 Star Ruby "F" nib running Noodler's Black Swans in Australian Roses

Leonardo Officina Italiana Momento Zero "F" nib running Montblanc Racing Green

 

 


#27 Honeybadgers

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 03:51

Moonman nibs are absolutely awesome and their acrylics and machining are top notch.


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#28 Strudel

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 06:57

While most go to Jinhao for their Chinese pens, I have to echo the sentiment for Moonman, Delike, and PenBBS. To me, Jinhao's don't feel nice to use. I'd rather put up a few extra dollars to buy a better pen. PenBBS make great acrylic pens that would cost you $80+ from another brand. Moonman has their unique M2 and Wancai Mini pens. Both, for me, came with nibs that outperformed pens three times the cost. Lastly, while a rip off of Kaweco, Delike's version of Kaweco's pens are superior and much more inexpensive AND they take converters.



#29 Mech-for-i

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Posted 26 October 2018 - 11:48

I agree with Honeybadgers that PenBBS are good pens, pretty reliable and very nice colors.

 

I am also becoming intrigued by Moonman, which has somewhat pricier pens than the average Hero, Jinhao, etc.  Just got some in the mail and will try them out.

 

I find the nibs are not very expressive, but in general they PenBBS at least are good writers.

 

Erick

 

Actually the real average Hero is just as or more expensive than most of PenBBS or Moonman, its just that on the online ( export ) retail the retailer usually never sock them ... its usually only the 359 ( safari copies ) or all the vintage models, which actually do not represent the brand and its rather more diverse and current lineup. In fact even in its home market Hero distinguish the 616, 329, 007, 565, 846 etc etc etc as classic / vintage models and their current catalog models are generally separately cataloged , and then their school / office supply pens.

 

Pens like their 981-1, 1506, 9317, & 2061 are more like the real Hero's own marketed range of pens , yes Hero like to made metal bodied pens that had always been their strong suite and in their home market its considered a plus as this mean the pen is up to taking beating and abuse in use ( consumers over there buy the pens more to use them as vs just being a hobby )



#30 katanankes

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 15:08

I will echo the most recent posts and say that PenBBS, Delike, Moonman and Fuliwen brands are coming out with interesting pens. They are not dirty cheap (like 1 USD including shipping), but with many models priced between 10 and 30 USD they are not going to break the bank either.

 

Recently I bought a Fuliwen clipless model 16 that has a very nice plastic material similar, visually, to more expensive acrylics if not celluloids. 

 

I also acquired a PenBBS 469 (the two sided pen, with two nibs, one per side, eyedropper) and I plan to buy the model 267, a long desk pen (the material is similar to the one used for Fuliwen model 16... I guess these new brands may be somehow related). 

 

I have a Moonman M2 demonstrator that is visually a very pleasant pen and I am now looking at their pocket pen. 

 

What I like about the above models is that they are not just rip offs but they show some originality. Conversely, I cringe every time I see one of those Hero or Jinhao pens that are just look-a-like of well-established models. I must say that my interest in Chinese pens is very recent and I have not tried them. I doubt they will replace in my daily use my Visconti, Omas and Japanse pens especially because they lack broad and stub nibs. But these new brands are certainly worth keeping an eye on. 


Edited by katanankes, 29 October 2018 - 15:09.


#31 Honeybadgers

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 01:55

 

Actually the real average Hero is just as or more expensive than most of PenBBS or Moonman, its just that on the online ( export ) retail the retailer usually never sock them ... its usually only the 359 ( safari copies ) or all the vintage models, which actually do not represent the brand and its rather more diverse and current lineup. In fact even in its home market Hero distinguish the 616, 329, 007, 565, 846 etc etc etc as classic / vintage models and their current catalog models are generally separately cataloged , and then their school / office supply pens.

 

Pens like their 981-1, 1506, 9317, & 2061 are more like the real Hero's own marketed range of pens , yes Hero like to made metal bodied pens that had always been their strong suite and in their home market its considered a plus as this mean the pen is up to taking beating and abuse in use ( consumers over there buy the pens more to use them as vs just being a hobby )

 

Hero makes a nice 10k safety pen too. I am kind of tempted to get one eventually.

 

I had a hero 12k nib clone of a parker 75 that sucked royally. From what I undserstand, hero owns wing sung and has been kind or reviving themselves under that name?


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#32 alexwi

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 03:52

Even though it's not in your list, I recently bought a seven-pack of Medium 699's and the three I've tried so far have been great. The nibs are very consistent, the pens are very comfortable for my daughter (she's 11) and for me, and they look great.

 

Alex



#33 Mech-for-i

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Posted 30 October 2018 - 09:39

 

Hero makes a nice 10k safety pen too. I am kind of tempted to get one eventually.

 

I had a hero 12k nib clone of a parker 75 that sucked royally. From what I undserstand, hero owns wing sung and has been kind or reviving themselves under that name?

 

Hero owns the right to the Wing Sung Brand , but the current Wing Sung is licensed production by a group of separate business and independent of Hero. Instead Hero , out of the license agreement also gain access to some of these models and reverse OEM from them ( say the Hero 1202 is just the Wing Sung 659 OEM ).

 

I have a number of Hero's and Wing Sung's 12K/14K Parker 75 style nib equipped models, and they generally do write well for me though I am not looking for any sense of flex in them, wha's it like for yours that made them sucked , just curious







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